You Are Going On A Trip To China & Your Fave Blog Is Blocked

Every blog-junky-Sinophile’s worst nightmare is that trip to China where their favorite blog is blocked by the great firewall of China. This happens to me all the time. Or should I say it use to happen to me. It doesn’t anymore. Well known to all ex-pats who live in China long-term, there is a Holy Grail option to piercing through the great firewall of China in order to access whatever website you wish, including Facebook and YouTube.

great-firewall-of-china

Students In Public School Are Also In The Know

If you or someone you know attends a public school, then you are also likely aware that proxy websites for school and vpn are the Holy Grail for accessing blocked sites.. Public schools also have to block numerous websites in order to minimize the amount inappropriate content that students can see and also minimize the amount of bandwidth consumption by limiting students’ ability to visit bandwidth heavy sites, such as YouTube or Netflix.

So What Is This Holy Grail Anyway?

Virtual Private Network, or VPN, will solve all your blocked-site woes. So what is a VPN? Quite simply, VPN services allow you to surf the web through a server in another city or country. Let’s say you live in Denver. When you surf the web, everywhere you go, sites know that you are in Denver by your IP address. However, while in Denver you can connect to a VPN server in, say, Houston. Then, as you surf the web, all sites see you as surfing from Houston. You dun tricked the web. The best vpn for china for China is up for debate, but you can find a list at at anoniproxy.com.

 

How Does This Help Me Surf Blocked Sites In China?

That’s easy! While in China, you can connect to a VPN server in Los Angeles. Since the entire web believes you are in Los Angeles, you can basically go wherever you want. Let’s say you go to Facebook. All the data from Facebook is first being sent to the server in Los Angeles to the VPN server. The VPN service then encrypts the data and sends it on to you in China and to your computer where it is unencrypted and displayed on your browser. China’s firewall has no idea the data came from Facebook. It thinks it came from some site in Los Angeles that it hasn’t blocked. And since it was encrypted, it doesn’t know that the data came from Facebook. Are you getting excited now?

What About Free VPN Services?

I have two problems with free VPNs services. It doesn’t mean that the free ones wouldn’t meet a specific need you have. I’ll address here why the free ones don’t meet my needs.

First, the free VPN services are slow. Well… of course they are… they’re free. If you are watching videos or don’t want to sit around waiting for images to load on your Facebook newsfeed, then the free VPN services are not going to meet your needs. I’m willing to spend the annual fee on a VPN service so that my surfing experience is fast.

Second, free VPN services don’t always encrypt your data. This is important to me. I often use VPN when I’m in a coffee shop so I can safely visit my bank’s website are other sites where privacy and safety is a concern. An encrypted VPN service will protect your data from hackers by encrypting it.

This doesn’t mean that a free service won’t meet a specific need you have. Maybe you only need the VPN once, or perhaps for just a week. In this case, maybe a slow and sluggish free VPN service is tolerable for the short term.

WordPress Now The Go-To Platform for Small Business

Some say that more than half the websites on the Internet today are WordPress sites. There is a good reason for that. WordPress allows anyone with zero web design skills to have their own professional looking website up and running in a short amount of time. This is a huge benefit to small business owners.

Many people falsely believe that WordPress is merely a blogging platform. This is not true. With an endless selection of free and fee-based themes and plug-ins, WordPress is now used by numerous online businesses doing over $1 million in annual revenue. WordPress can support blogging, local business sites, e-commerce sites, and fee-based membership sites. WordPress is also a favorite of photography professionals.

wordpress-for-small-business.

Search Engine Optimization

Another feature that makes WordPress so popular is its flexibility for search engine optimization. Virtually no coding is required when carrying out all the tasks related to optimizing on page search engine optimization. There are even plug-ins that manage all the key settings for you, and alert you when a page or a post is not optimized.

Endless Features

There are virtually endless features that you can add on in the form of themes and plug-ins. For example, you want a carousel that cycles through photographs on your homepage? There’s a plug-in for that. Do you want an easy way to create forms to collect information from your visitors? There’s a plug-in for that, too. Do you want to make your website membership-based while being able to choose which content is made public in which content is behind the membership authentication? There are themes and plug-ins for that to. Regardless of what kind of business you’re in, WordPress can accommodate your needs.

Do What SEOs Do

When building a website for your business, when it makes sense to do what search engine optimization Specialist do? The majority of SEO professionals use WordPress, primarily because you can design a professional looking website in a short amount of time, thereby leaving more time for optimizing the site, both on page and off, for ranking well in the search engines.

When Is WordPress Not A Good Option?

Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for the Internet. There are going to be cases where word press is not the desire platform for a website. However, if you have to ask this question then word press should be able to serve your needs. Only businesses that need to implement interactive websites with PHP code and backend databases, etc., would consider going the traditional HTML route for designing a website. That being said, it’s very likely that WordPress would work just fine, as there are themes and plug-ins that allow the integration of databases and PHP.

What If I’m Still Going To Hire A Web Designer Anyway?

I would still use WordPress. Basically, building, maintaining, and upgrading a website is extremely easy and time efficient with WordPress. Hiring a web designer to code a website from scratch is going to take a lot more time and cost you a lot more money. If you insist that the designer use WordPress, then you may be able to negotiate a lower fee because you know building and maintaining the site is not going to be so time-consuming.

Using WordPress to Promote Your Small Business

Are you a small business just starting up? Have you been vexing over what to do about the website? Vex no more. WordPress is the most popular website platform on the Internet.

Do you still think that WordPress is just a blogging platform for someone who wants to post about the progress of their garden or their trip to China? Today, WordPress is a lot more than that. With the myriad of themes and plug-ins, WordPress can even support a robust e-commerce site. The possibilities are limitless.

What’s the best thing about using WordPress? You won’t need to pay thousands of dollars to a web developer.wordpress

How Do I Set Up WordPress?

Setting up WordPress is quite simple. Once you have your domain hosted, you can simply go into cPanel and in the software section you should find some sort of quick install app that will install WordPress for you.

Once WordPress is installed, you will need to choose a theme. Google search the type of theme you need, “such as word press e-commerce theme”. There are hundreds of free themes available. However, if you are a startup small business, it’s worth it to spend 50 to a couple hundred dollars to get a decent theme with lots of functionality.

All The Plug-ins!

There is a WordPress plug-in to solve any problem or add any functionality you might want. For example, let’s say you’re worrying about how you’re going to make your site mobile. Well, there’s a plug-in for that. In literally under a minute you can search for install and activate a plug-in that will make your website mobile.

Do you want your website to be as Seo optimized? There are dozens of apps that will help you optimize your website to rank in the search engines. Some of these apps even give you suggestions as you are writing a post on how to make it more optimized to rank well in Google.

Let’s say you decide you don’t want to trouble yourself with building a website. Should you pay a developer to build it for you, I would highly recommend that you insist that they use WordPress. Should you wish to take over the management of the site on your own at some point in the future, it will be much easier to do with a WordPress site.

Disadvantages of a Traditional HTML Website

Is someone trying to talk you out of using word press and insisting that you build a traditional website? Don’t listen to them. Word press will give you more options should you want to change the look and feel of your website or take away or add functionality. For example, let’s say you have a website with dozens of pages that you now want to make a membership-based website. If it’s built with traditional HTML, turning it into a membership site will be extremely time-consuming and expensive. On the other hand if it’s a WordPress site, many of the membership plug-ins available will simply allow you to select posts and pages that you want public and ones that you want to be behind the membership login. It would literally take you a half hour to turn an existing site into a membership site with WordPress.

Basically, anything you can do with a traditional HTML site can be done with WordPress, and it can be done better. But let me tell you how I really feel.

How to Make Money Blogging

Many people will tell you that it’s hard to make money blogging. And they may be right. However, those who do make a living online blogging have a lot of similar habits that are very likely responsible for their success. When you look at it this way blogging should be easy, right? All you need to do is carry out all the habits and strategies that successful bloggers do, and you should have success yourself. Probably easier said than done, but then again maybe not. Let’s take a look at what it takes to turn your blog into an ATM machine.

make-money-blogging

Don’t Be Desperate, Be Patient

The first step to having a successful blog is to not be too desperate for quick success. Being too anxious and impatient will force you to take shortcuts and quickly become overwhelmed, usually leading to getting frustrated and giving up. If you need to start making cash tomorrow, then blogging probably isn’t the best strategy for you. On the other hand, if you have time to get things up and running correctly, then you have a chance at being successful.

Blog about Something That Interests You

If you are familiar at all with Internet marketing, then the first thing you’ll probably think you should do is run out and do some keyword research and find some niche that is profitable and noncompetitive. That’s a mistake and is what someone who is desperate and impatient with do. You are in this for the long haul. Choose a topic that you are interested in. Setting up a successful blog that can make you money will take at least a year. Writing daily about something you don’t enjoy is going to get old quickly and you will give up. Choose a topic that you are passionate about.

Set Up Your Social Media

Your blog is not going to be successful without integrating it with social media. At the very least you should have a Facebook fan page and a twitter account that accompanies your blog. When you first launch your blog, create a Facebook fan page and invite all your friends. Your initial goal should be to get 100 likes. If you can’t achieve that with your current network of friends, and consider spending $100-$200 running Facebook ads to get likes. Once you reach 100 likes, more likes should start rolling in organically.

Link to your Facebook fan page in your twitter account from your blog. Tweet your website address and your Facebook fan page. And then, post about your webpage and your twitter account on your Facebook fan page.

Post Daily

To make money blogging, you really need to post daily. Remember I said that making money blogging is actually easy. That is the steps and strategies that successful bloggers use are repeatable. Your posting frequency is one of those double-edged swords. The secret to success is no secret. You need to post every day. The hard part is… posting every day.

Tweet every post you make daily. Share every post on your Facebook fan page daily and then share it on your own Facebook wall.

Monetize

You should have about 180 posts after half a year. You should also have some pretty decent traffic and an active Facebook fan page by this time. Maybe your twitter account is even on fire. At this point you want to think about introducing an income stream. There are a couple ways to go about this. You can either sell informational products or physical products. There are hundreds of affiliate programs where you can promote services, and other such programs involve promoting e-books. The easiest way to start selling physical products is as an Amazon affiliate. It’s best to pick one service or product and consistently promoted over two weeks to a month. This is preferable to trying to bombard your following with several different products in a short period of time.

That’s about it. This is what successful bloggers do. The method is easy, the execution is the difficult part. Don’t waste your time searching around the Internet for how to make money online. The way to do it is pretty clear, it’s the actual doing part that is difficult.

Controlling Spam On Your WordPress Blog

Anyone who maintains a WordPress blog is aware of the spam problem. Several years ago, it was very common for word press sites to be completely hacked and the homepage co-opted. This is now more difficult. However, the new since these days are the hundreds and even thousands of spam comments on blog posts. Of course the easy way to thwart this is to disable comments. However, one of the main purposes of having a blog is to be able to interact with your visitors. So, how do we maintain an interactive blog while at the same time minimizing or completely eliminating spam? Let’s take a look.

Anti Spam Plugins

The easiest way to control spam comments is to install an antispam plug-in. My favorite is Akismat. This plug-in requires you to register for free to be provided with an activation code. This plug-in is able to successfully block hundreds of spam comments a month. It is an essential plug-in for any blog.

akismat

Moderate Comments

In addition to using an antispam plug-in, you should be sure to select the “moderate comments” selection in the word press dashboard. Refer to the image below that shows the proper settings for preventing spam comments from being posted on your blog.

Should I Restrict Comments To Registered Users?

I would not recommend restricting your comments to registered users when you are first launching your blog. You risk turning away potential devoted visitors by requiring them to register before commenting. I would let the site run for six months to a year as you attempt to build up a following. You may have to deal with spending a few moments a day deleting spam comments. But this is a small price to pay while you are trying to gain the following. After a year, you can then request that your devoted followers register by telling them that you are doing so to minimize the amount of SPAM in your comments. They will likely be more than willing to register because by now they trust you and enjoy your content.

What About Captcha?

Captcha is something that I would not implement right away on a new blog. It creates an extra step for your visitors and is often quite a hassle. Often, I get all excited to make a comment on an article and then when I see that there is a captcha, I click away. The time to implement Captcha would be when the number of spam comments you have to moderate becomes overwhelming and unmanageable. You are likely not to have that problem in less your blog becomes extremely popular with thousands of visitors a month. It would be hard to become that popular if you required captcha from the beginning. Following the same principle above, a new blogger wants to make it as easy as possible for visitors to make comments while trying to build a following.

So to reiterate, the more aggressive anti-spam measures such as requiring commenters to register or implementing captcha should be reserved for websites that are already receiving thousands of visitors a month and perhaps hundreds of comments. For newer blogs or blogs with less traffic, you don’t want to be too aggressive for fear of turning away potential devoted visitors to your site. You want to make it as easy for new visitors to comment and become frequent visitors to your site before you start implementing aggressive tactics

Should I Use WordPress or Blogger for My Website?

Anyone who has been blogging for any amount of time is already likely clear which platform, word press or blogger, is better for them. However, for anyone who is new to the blogging scene this is an important question that should not be overlooked. There are very different reasons for using Blogger over WordPress or vice versa. You don’t want to put in hours and days and weeks of effort into a blog only to find out that your choice of platform is preventing you from reaching your goals.

Just to be clear, what I mean by word press is you purchasing your own domain and hosting your own WordPress site. WordPress also has a web 2.0 option where you do not need to purchase your own domain and hosting. This version of Word press is no different than blogger.

Do You Want to Make Money Blogging?

If you answered yes to that question, then I highly recommend that you purchase your own domain name and host your blog yourself. First of all, your blog on Blogger or the web 2.0 version of WordPress will never completely belong to you. You are basically at the mercy of Google and WordPress. If they don’t like what you doing, they have the right to completely shut down your website. Furthermore, using blogger or the web 2.0 version of word press, your domain name will look like this: yoursite.blogger.com or yoursite.wordpress.com.

wordpress

If you intend to start and develop a blog with the purpose of starting a business, then hands down, without any question, you need a www.yoursite.com kind of web address.

What’s more, owning your own domain name and hosting your word press site on your own gives you full autonomy. You can do whatever you want. With Blogger, for example, you are at the mercy of the terms of service of Google.

When Would You Want to Use Blogger?

It’s personal preference, but I would never want to use a Web 2.0 based platform for blogging. But there are numerous reasons why you may want to. The main reason, of course, is because it’s free. You don’t need to purchase a domain name or hosting, which is usually about $60-$80 for a domain name in a year’s worth of hosting.

And, using blogger doesn’t mean that you can’t make money blogging. Blogger integrates nicely with Google AdSense, obviously because they are both owned by the same company. If you are lucky enough to build an audience and get lots of traffic to your Blogger blog, then you could earn a little cash.

Other Uses for Blogger and WordPress.comblogger

If you opt to purchase your own domain name and host your own WordPress blog, you may not want to cast aside blogger and WordPress.com just yet. Web 2.0 properties have a lot of use for business’ online presence. In fact, any digital marketer or SEO professional worth their salt is going to create an account with the top 20 Web 2.0 properties, such as blogger, Facebook, twitter, etc. If you create a website called pinkroses.com and you want to develop the brand “Pink Roses”, you don’t want someone else owning Facebook.com/pinkroses, or the twitter handle pinkroses. Even if you don’t plan on using Facebook or twitter, or any of the other web 2.0 properties in the near future, you will still want to own them by creating the account immediately. Also, if you manage to build a successful website and choose to sell it, being able to offer branded Web 2.0 properties together with the main site will be a nice attractive bonus.